ESPN is looking to replace Jason Witten in the Monday Night Football booth after he returned to the Dallas Cowboys, but legendary quarterback Peyton Manning reportedly won't be the one to do it.
On Monday, Michael McCarthy of Sporting News cited sources who said Manning elected to host a five-part, 30-episode series called Peyton's Places on ESPN+ instead of joining Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters on the Monday Night Football team.
The decision "ends years of back and forth between Manning ... and ESPN management led by president Jimmy Pitaro," McCarthy wrote.
McCarthy provided additional details on the negotiating process, noting Manning initially turned ESPN down in 2018 after Jon Gruden returned to coaching. However, ESPN attempted again and even flew representatives to Denver to meet him after Witten returned to the NFL but didn't formally offer the future Hall of Famer after "sensing Manning's ambivalence."
The report also said Manning sees himself as someone who can serve in an NFL front office or as an owner more than a commentator and will have an easier travel schedule hosting Peyton's Places than he would in the booth.
What's more, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported in April 2018 that Manning's desire to not call one of his brother Eli's games also played a role in turning down announcing offers from ESPN and Fox.
Manning was known for his ability to read and adjust to defenses during his playing days and would surely bring that type of football intelligence to the booth.
Alas, those who are looking for his analysis will have to turn to ESPN+ instead.